What social media isn’t
Posted on January 27, 2009 by Tom
Let’s hope 2009 is the year when social media takes over the world! I’m excited every time I see social media being mentioned in mass media, it means that it’s gaining momentum. And in times where a lot of marketing budgets take a big hit, social media has its use. BUT, knowledge is scarce, even though information is plenty. I’m not an expert, I can’t grasp the full spectrum of social media, but I can help by saying what it’s definitely not.
1. It’s more than just Facebook. Some people think by creating a Facebook fanpage everything else will follow. Facebook boomed in 2008 and has to watch out it doesn’t become victim of it own success. Businesses, people,… create pages to stimulate business but never know exactly what they’re doing. Facebook is great, but it’s not a stand-alone. There are more tools out there. Maybe you don’t even need Facebook.
2. Social media isn’t ‘fast’. In a way it is. It takes 1 minute to set-up a Wordpress-blog, 30 seconds to make a Facebook account or to upload pictures to a Flickr account. That’s fast right there. But it just means that the tools to create it are fast, not what the effects may be. That’s still trial and error. Feel what works and what doesn’t. Take your time. Think, plan and execute.
3. Social media isn’t ‘cheap’. Again… the tools are. Maintaining it isn’t. There must be a reason companies start to hire community managers or online marketing managers. It’s because there’s a need of people who understand what they are doing and seeing the bigger picture. Social media can be done by some over-excited intern, but it should be controlled by someone with the proper knowledge about and responsibility within your company.
4. You can’t control everything. Nope you can’t and there are plenty of examples to prove it. For example, Belkin paid people to write positive reviews about their products… it backfired. Facebook disabled the account of techgeek blogger Robert Scobleizer because they suspected he ran an automated script. He couldn’t retrieve all the information on Facebook… no control. Social media means failing, getting up again, trying,… if you’re not prepared to experiment, if you’re scared, better not ‘engage’ in the first place.
5. It isn’t another mass communication tool. Social media is about sharing information and helping. If it generates business, that should be the bonus that makes it all worthwhile, it shouldn’t be a starting point. You can always try and find out what happens when you spam everyone with messages without ever listening to all the feedback you get. And believe me, the more spamming, the more feedback you will get.
6. It’s not something everyone should use. That’s probably one of the biggest misconception of them all. I wrote a post about it and put some effort in creating some diagrams, so check out why you should or should not ‘engage’.
We still have so much to learn. About the tools, how we can use them, how we can integrate them in our classic campaigns, how we can adjust classic campaigns so they fully benefit the potential of social media,…